A Pakistan-based American blogger has accused three senior leaders of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of raping and assaulting her in 2011.
Cynthia D. Ritchie made the allegation through a video clip posted on her Facebook page on Friday (June 5) and soon it went viral on social media.
“In 2011, I was raped by the former interior minister Rehman Malik. That’s right, I’ll say it again. I was raped by the then interior minister Rehman Malik,” she claimed.
She also said that former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin “physically manhandled” her while Gilani was staying at the “President’s House” in Islamabad.
Ritchie’s allegations have escalated the already bitter row between her and the party after she posted a comment on a tweet on May 28 against slain PPP leader and former prime minister Benzair Bhutto, which was termed as derogatory by the party leaders who filed a complaint against her at the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Her comments came on a tweet discussing the violent confrontation between model Uzma Khan and a woman, who accused the former of having a relationship with her husband of 13 years and used this allegation to justify her violent treatment of the model.
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“This echoes stories of what BB used to do when her husband cheated. She’d have the guards rape the women. Why do women condone this rape culture? Why aren’t the men ever held accountable? Where is the justice system?” Ritchie wrote the comment on the tweet.
According to media reports, PPP, on the same day, filed a complaint with the FIA against Ritchie for “hateful comments and slander” against Bhutto.
In another post, Ritchie said that the rape assault against her took place at Malik’s house in the Minister’s Enclave around the time of the raid in which Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in 2011.
“I thought it (was) a meeting about my visa but I was given flowers/a drugged drink,” she wrote.
He also said that she kept mum as no one in the then PPP government helped her.
PPP was in power from 2008 until 2013 and Gilani was the prime minister until he was removed by the Supreme Court in June 2012 for disobeying court orders.
Ritchie also said she had informed about the incident to “someone” at the US Embassy in Pakistan in 2011, “but due to fluid situation and complex relations between US and Pakistan, [the] response was less than adequate”.
Referring to her ongoing battle with the PPP, she said it was not really about that tweet but about the individuals who know she had a lot of dirt on a lot of people in Pakistan.
“It is primarily those who use and abuse others, particularly women and the vulnerable population. And I am one of them,” Ritchie was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.
However, Gilani has denied the charges and said that he is even considering responding to such allegations, “humiliation and disgrace”.
While talking to ARY News, he was asked what Richie was doing at the Presidency when she was allegedly manhandled, and why she had been staying in Pakistan.
Gilani alleged that she had come to Pakistan as part of a campaign to malign politicians.
“Who has given them the right to malign politicians?” he asked.
He said Ritchie was maligning him because his two sons had filed a defamation case against her for her allegedly defamatory tweet against Bhutto.
However, the two former ministers have not so far responded to the allegations.